In 2001, he came to Denmark as a refugee from Somalia. On Sunday, Abdi Hakin Ulad crossed the finish line at the Copenhagen Half Marathon as the fastest Dane among the nearly 24,000 competitors.
With a time of 1:02:48, Abdi Hakin Ulad outran all other Danish competitors through the streets of the Danish capital. He not only took the win among his countrymen on Sunday, he also claimed the fifth fastest half marathon ever ran by a Dane, according to public broadcaster DR.
Now a Danish citizen living in the Copenhagen suburb of Hvidore, Ulad came to Denmark as a refugee 14 years ago. His finish as the fastest Dane came at a time when refugees are dominating the spotlight in Denmark. Some 125,000 Facebook users saw the video of him crossing the finish line and many used the occasion to weigh in on the current refugee debate.
For Ulad's part, he told public broadcaster DR that he was just happy to have had the support of his fellow Danes along the 21.097 kilometre route.
“I'm happy that it was held in Denmark and that the spectators cheered for me the whole way. If they hadn't been there, it would have been even harder,” he said.
Ulad had the 16th fastest time overall in a race that was dominated by Kenyans. Bedan Karoki Muchiri was the overall winner with a time of 59:14, while his countrymen from Kenya also claimed the second through ninth spots.
Ulad is vying to represent Denmark at the 2016 Olympics in the 10,000 metre race.